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Characteristic of Old Garden Roses: Portland

Portlands are a small group of roses with a mixed and uncertain heritage but probably have damask and gallica in their background. The group is named after the English Duchess of Portland who received the first Portland rose from Italy in 1775. This rose was called R. paestana or ‘Scarlet Four Seasons Rose’ but is now called ‘The Portland Rose’ from which all and subsequent Portland roses were developed. Flowers are large, fragrant, and have a multitude of petals in various shades of pink. The flowers are borne on short stems so have limited potential as cut flowers. Plants tend to be short and bushy with abundant foliage.

Flower Size: 2.5-3.5”
Petal Number: Very full
Flower Form: Cupped; quartered; sometimes with eye
Flower Substance: Medium to thin
Flowering: Repeat at 6 week cycles
Fragrance: Very fragrant
Stem: Compact, upright, with short flowering stems
Size of Bush: 4-5’
Disease Resistance: Moderate
Hardiness: Zone 5-6

Here are two Portland roses that have good American Rose Society (ARS) ratings and can be found for sale from online sources.

‘Jacques Cartier’: Powder puff-like rose pink flowers are produced on 4-5’ compact bush with pale green leaves. Flowers are quartered and open to green eye. ARS rating 8.8

‘Rose de Rescht’: The crimson flowers open from spherical buds and sometimes have button eye. They are produced on bushes 3-4’ tall in clusters of 3-7 surrounded by a collar of leaves. ARS rating 8.7.

Rose pointer

Recommended Reading:

Amercian Rose Society Encyclopedia of Roses
Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener
Gardening at Sissinghurst